All posts by Senthilkumar

Fit of the moment will be a disaster!

In the Mahabharatha, as we all know the war happened because Pandavas didn’t not get their due, not even the five villages. Even as everyone tried to placate Duryodhana, he had said they would not even give away five inches forget five villages.

The war has been declared, and though the war was on from a date it was business as usual and that’s when they get the people to fight ot their side. Some people were coaxed to fight on behalf of Pandavas and some for Kauravas owning allegiance to the kingdom and their help during times of distress. As this played out Duryodhana was feeling high, why not he had Bhishma, Drona and Kripa all great men and warriors whose exploits can be written for years together.

This is very evident during the start of the war. As the sides were ready for the start, Duryodhana goes towards Drona and starts a super flow of dialogues. You can read it as both the confidence and may be some subtle fear. Depends on how you look at it.

As an aside this forms the initial part of the Bhagavad Gita where Sanjaya makes a live telecast to Duryodhana.

Duryodhana goes on to say the virtues of the warriors and how they cannot be beaten by the opponent. He extols the way Bhishma is such a fine warrior and few sentences later asks the team to save Bhishma.

Bhishma wanted to enthuse Duryodhana or whatever, so much that he blew his conch announcing the start of the war and then the rest of the warriors blew their respective conches, filling the Kurukshetra cosmos.

A terrible mistake had happened here, all the while Pandavas were supposed to call for war, Bhishma makes the call because Duryodhana mistimed his dialogues. May be, it would have been different if not for Duryodhana.

May be even during the worst of crisis we need to hold our own, not get led by the circumstances, someone of Bhishma’s stature who had the power to ward off death as he wished made a mistake.

This is so evident in our day to day endeavours, sometimes we just go with the flow, here Bhishma wanted to enthuse Duryodhana who he thought was getting jittery, but then he called for war. If he had thought for a moment on what he was doing, it would have been different. Who knows.

That thought for a moment, is a great teacher for everyone of us. We lose things in a fit of a moment.

#fitofthemoment #bhishma #managementlessons

Excellence is a habit!

Karna the great archer in Mahabharatha

Today’s post is about the one of the most wonderful characters in Mahabharatha, Karna!

Karna was known for his charity apart from being a great archer, warrior and a benevolent friend.

So it was no surprise that whenever the topic of Karna arose, Krishna never spared that opportunity to praise Karna as the most charitable man.

Arjuna would probably even take it about Karna being a warrior, he knows that but wanted to see Karna do charity and remove all his doubt.

As such Krishna too sensed this urge in Arjuna and told him to announce a charity drive for the poor, and when Arjuna asked him what was in store for charity, Krishna said there was a whole truck of gold that he would need to distribute in charity.

Thrilled at this Arjuna called his subordinates and told them this is the time he would defeat Karna in charity and made extensive arrangement to make the world know he is having a charity drive on a particular day.

The day arrived, and the whole of the town was in attendance to partake of Arjuna’s charity. Long queues of men and women with children waited patiently in line.

The day ended and still lay a heap of gold.. well Arjuna was helping the people with spoonfuls of gold dust and he was wondering how he is going to finish this off. So he told the drummers to go far and wide and announce that this charity drive is happening!

This went on for days and there was no chance of any gold dust getting any lesser…and some seven days later, Arjuna gave up… Krishna I don’t know what to do!

Krishna smiled and said come with me let me illustrate you something and please change yourself to a help in disguise.

So Arjuna accompanied Krishna in the guise of a farmer and they went on a small drive on a chariot.

A few minutes into the drive they came across Karna, and Krishna seizing the opportunity asked him where he was headed to.

Karna said he was going to meet Duryodhana, and Krishna told him he needed Karna’s help with some charity. Karna smiled and told him he is always game.

So Krishna pointed to the corner of the street and said there a heap of gold and Karna had to give that in charity. Karna looked at the corner and did see a heap of gold. He got down the chariot and as he was walking to the heap of gold, he saw two people working on the roadside.

He called them and asked if they can see the heap of gold? The nodded in affirmation. Karna then said share it equally among yourself and he left the place!

Arjuna was dumbfounded. He had no answers to this. What he had taken seven days and not completed Karna had done in few seconds. Since then Arjuna has held Karna in deep respect secretly though he would not show it to others.

So the management lesson here is excellence can never be an accident. Like What Karna did we need to ingrain in ourselves the best practices so that it comes naturally to us. Karna had the final goal in mind. That was charity, let us also have that very clear what is the final goal. We can be better ourselves in smart but firm and powerful way like Karna did if we live by what we want to do. You wont make it by doing an Arjuna trying to drum up his charity and still not making it happen. Sometimes if you do not know the end no matter how hard you work like Arjuna, you will be never make it. Processes are fine but ideally if they don’t take you to the destination please be aware of its shortcomings and earlier you understand the better!

managementlessonsfrommahabharatha #karna #charity #1of100posts

“Irrationally Passionate” by Jason Kothari – a Book Review

I am writing a review after a long time to be frank, the professional assignments has taken a toll on the passionate reader in me and this was the time for me to wake up, smell the coffee, er read the book in a weeks time and deliver this review.

Entrepreneurship is close to my heart and it continues to be. And when Blogadda mailed me to review my book I took it as a challenge to read and write a review in seven days, which was a habit some time ago. It was a great experience to do it all over again especially with a book like ‘Irrationally Passionate.

So let’s go to the book in review, the author looks straight at you in the cover and he continues to talk the same way throughout the book. It was a kind of sensation that you go through watching a movie, you wanted to finish the book once you started, I finished this in three sessions. A very straight from the heart storytelling and I think that was the core of the book, he was personal and one to one taking you along the journey how he managed to pull off those entrepreneurial ventures even when he was in college.

That Valiant episode is a testament of the Silicon valley culture that’s now creeping in for good in the Indian ecosystem. He is a bit philosophical but I like the way he translates that to reality and that I think make us think very hard. eventually that is the core of his success, seeing through the things in a philosophical and yet a practical and pragmatic way.

The language is very personal and makes you travel with him, like say he was traveling with Nikesh Arora, I could almost feel sitting in the car. The power of narration is excellent. The way chapters have been listed is also easy to read. I would also like to state in case you want to read one of the chapters you won’t feel left out from the earlier story. I loved the way the chapters were titled and it meant a lot of things and had deep connotations that you can’t miss in the story that is revealed.

It was also nice to read the behind the door happenings at Housing.com. That was one of the most watched startup stories that had it’s up and down in a way no other startup was covered, perhaps the PR of its early days stuck so much that it was its Achilles heel when it was in downward spiral.

The best part of the storytelling is the depiction of the personal front how the human side of the big entrepreneurs is quite never known, you never know what you do as a child perhaps might be a precursor to what you do in the life as an adult. Well I am talking about the Chess board episode in Agra where he negotiated a sale with a local seller getting it for Rs. 50 when it had started with a Rs.400 initially.

Thanks Jason for taking us inside the mind of an entrepreneur and taking us through some of the greatest moments in Indian entrepreneurial history. Thanks for those cab rides, boardroom discussions, phone calls and more than that for the inspiration to see things as they are. I loved the way how the entrepreneur in him evaluated the exit strategy and more.

We need more stories that will help the entrepreneurs to see things in new light. Thanks Blogadda for this opportunity.

This is a part of Blogadda book review program.

The Conquest of the East – Royal Crown Returns by R Durgadoss – a book review

  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Rupa
  • Genre: Historical fiction
  • ISBN: 9789353332600, 9353332605

I was really happy to see a work on the unsung heroes of the South in terms of mythology and history put together and this is very well done story with the Chola history intertwined to make it a historical fiction. Thanks to the author Dr.  R Durgadoss.

The characterization of Surya the hero and the final chapter are an ode to the way they armed warriors of those times actually lived in those era of Cholas. The background and the implication of his history also is like spicing up the story to a great bit. The author has taken pains to research the war tactics being used those times and also those cultural issues that comes in terms of relationships the marriages and the customs that prevailed there on.

For example there was a slice of live in relationship which if we take it in today’s age must have been too good in terms of societal reformation. The kings marrying second time after war victories is also well documented.

The background of the building the Big temple and the city of Gangai Konda Cholapuram and the jewels which were supposed to be a part of Chola dynasty keeps the story well knitted across the time line with the character of Surya fitting in seamlessly.

The author has taken liberties and it fits well in terms of characterisation and I must add this has a script for a movie for the twists and turns that the author makes us live in.

The naval warfare technology and the character of Surya are well intertwined to get the story the pace it deserves and adds to the overall story telling. There is war fare, there is strategy, there is romance and they are mixed in a concoction for the reader to enjoy them.

A nice fast paced read The Conquest of the East is a must read and to be frank you will finish this in one go for sure.

To pick up your copy go to Amazon or Flipkart.

Senthilkumar

The Code of the Manavas by Arpit Bakshi – a book review

  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Rupa
  • Genre: Foreign Language Study
  • ISBN: 9789353041205, 9353041201
  • Pages: 295

The author in this first of the series has tried to go into sci-fi mode with the background of mythology and it looks like reading the past into the future. Ideally as we are looking into an uncertain future, take the Mars Mission for example, it makes it imperative for humans to look for new vistas of emigration if I may use the word.

Here it’s the same with Krishna and team trying to save the world Bhoomi while there is big hack happening to destroy the earth. The pace could have been better and its gets more technical and things like that for sometime, that the story could have been faster is obviously at the end.  Ofcourse even for the protagonist the time is of the essence.

As the story gathers pace we are waiting for some real happenings that could change the way for the better. There is a lot of things which could have sped up the pace of the read.

A good attempt but lags behind in pace and somewhere is a retelling of some of the Mahabharata instances straight with names so similar its hard to negate that feeling.

Look forward to a tighter leash in the next edition of the trilogy.

Senthilkumar

RAMAYANA VERSUS MAHABHARATA – My Playful Comparison by Devdutt Pattanaik – a book review

RAMAYANA VERSUS MAHABHARATA – My Playful Comparison
  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications India
  • Genre: History of Religion, Hinduism, Theology and Philosophy of Religion
  • ISBN: 9789353332303, 9353332303
  • Edition: 2018
This is a laborious exercise ideally because the context is different. The other side of the comparing these two works is tough because they are totally having different approaches to target segment. It also is important to understand the length and breadth of the story are widely different. The fact that the characters continue to Mahabharata from Ramayana is also a pointer to the similarities and how they are a continuous set of instances that make this grand story come alive. I read with interest the snippet like comparisons by Devdutt Pattanaik where he has put it as My playful comparison, (still wonder why it’s playful) there are enough and more comparisons you could take away right from the childless fathers in Dasaratha to Shantanu to sorrowing parents in Dasaratha to even Pandavas after the war. We also get to see quite a few instances in terms of geography and history or the narration by rishis, etc. But given that author has taken liberty for the time of the authorship of both the epics, I would have loved to differ. For example, the Big Temple in Tamilnadu is over 2000 years old and the devotional movement in their time was as big as anything that is covered elsewhere. One more I noticed was the Greek and Buddhist comparisons, that are totally different and the context in which those thrived also makes for comparisons. I was also not able to see the Ram vs Krishna connect or comparison here. That would have made it all the more interesting since the author has given very few instances of the comparison in a perspective of things. Those are the celebrated characters in the whole scheme of things. That Mahabharata has a Bhagavad Geetha in it has not be taken into consideration. I think a body of work of such grandeur and vastness in both cases inspite of being in Sruthi mode thats hear say to being written so well after long, will constitute similarities with human beings and Gods in an intersection of game of life. That women in both the epics have cast a shadow is irrefutable, that of Sita and Panchali, but then when you see these as just stories it would get you to this connect only. These are imageries for spiritual existance and at some places the author puts them concretely. That there are multiple versions that have made these epics into a reckoning literature in their own right, this will also have its way of reflecting the time that the authors lived in. Infact this is also happening now as we see multitude versions of Mahabharat and Ramayana from different authors and different perspectives from different characters than being rendered by Valmiki or Vyasa. This is quite a study of contrast and yes you could open any page and read this in case you want to because like I mentioned earlier these are snippets and there are almost 56 instances that the author takes us through and they are small but important to note. I am only cautious about some issues like Vedic period and Brahminism that the author takes undue liberty with. It’s like saying there was no gravity or something till Newton discovered it. One instance he says this is because of the Panini’s work of grammar came in at one certain point in time. I am unable to understand if that were the case would everyone be using the language without any sense till then. I think that is wrong way to reference the language part. Sangam literature in Tamil is far older in that case going by inscriptions. Anyway an attempt in bringing the similarities which will continue to exist even today. You write a plot and then you can be sure that was there in Mahabharata or Ramayana. One thing I have noticed is from giving the stories its due to now getting to liberal interpretations Devdutt Pattanaik has come a long way. Well you cant find fault with this its the way the epics have allowed itself to be retold. Thank you Flipkart for sending in the copy and you can buy this here. Senthilkumar

Once Upon an IAS Exam – by Dr. Vijayakarthikeyan, a book review

Once upon an IAS exam, by Dr. K Vijayakarthikeyan
There are two disclaimers here. The author is Commissioner,  Coimbatore Corporation, and is a well known motivational speaker. I wanted to review this personally as I thought this will be a different one coming from the author / speaker I know and have had the opportunity to listen to. The story is a very simple one of a IAS aspirant and the way to his success amidst the whole drama of his personal life, the change of syllabi and how he handles them with elan. Vishy is he aspirant and he doesnt make his cut the first time, and then what does he do? Simple propose to his girlfriend for marriage… It might look very cinematic but Vishy is a different character who makes the cut understanding the context. The narration gets top marks because this could have been a 400 page story. But the author nails it in such a straight forward narration and gets us closer to the characters with ease. The usual tribulations of boy in love and the parental pressure apart, the positives makes this story a very easy read. The anecdotes on Dhoni perhaps is the best in terms of trying to bring home the point of equanimity. That picture that has Dhoni not being on high even after winning the World cup is a big motivation for everyone to take life as it comes. The other side of the story is the idea of time management especially during the exams is worth emulating. The Never Never Give up idea is very well presented here and this applies to any of the situation that we are in not necessarily in the context of preparing for the civil services exams. The love story part is very cinematic in a way, but thats ok given the way the story moves and yes you could expect people in Delhi too without any hint of whats in store. I loved the characterization of Vishy’s father and mother, and the way Vishy responds to the medical emergency two times when he has to take the exam the next day morning. I think there is a message for the parent folks out there on how to respond or rather react to the kids exam results or how to take decision for the career. I am sure Dr. Vijayakarthikeyan has more up his sleeves and wish him all the very best for his future works. Looking forward to having his next work at the earliest. So here you go click on the links to pick up your copy Amazon | Flipkart Senthilkumar

The Tree Bears Witness: A Birbal Mystery book by Sharath Komarraju – a book review

tree bears witness

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Westland (17 November 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9386850443
  • ISBN-13: 978-9386850447
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.8 cm

This is a wonderful thriller with the background of the Akbar and his famous and favourite courtier Mahesh Das popularly known as Birbal. There is a murder in the Palace and the murdered is one of the guest from Rajputs called Sujjamal.

Akbar has this responsibility given to none other than his trusted courtier Birbal. The best part is the victim is the brother of one of the new Rajput bride Hina Kunwari and she has just come into the palace.

Now the thing is if this murder is not cracked that might have a lot of repercussions for the Emperor to high stakes political issues with the Rajputs and other leaders in the region. And also time is of the essence and the Emperor cannot wait for the crime to be wrapped in suspense on who did it and as such gives Birbal two days to get the murderer.

The story is well narrated with instances that has the readers hooked to the last page. Ofcourse the fact that there was no witness and how there was no witness are all well taken up by Birbal as he builds up his case in the short time that he has at his disposal.

The time he spends with the guards at the place who are a part of the suspect list and the stories that he hears from the older man gives him a bit of hint in making the tree a witness.

The story is how Birbal gets to crack the case with all the suspects involved and help Akbar regain his respect with the new bride makes for an interesting Sherlock story. For once the tree becomes a witness and helps solve a murder mystery.

Well narrated and fast paced the story is planted in a nice setting on the Akbar era and it makes for an easy understanding of the characters.

Worth a read if you are into mystery novels. Pick your book here.. Amazon | Flipkart

The Peshwa – War of the deceivers by Ram Sivasankaran – a book review

    Ram Sivasankaran’s The Peshwa – war of deceivers
    • Language: English
    • Binding: Paperback
    • Publisher: Westland
    • ISBN: 9789387578654, 9387578658
    • Edition: 2018
    • Pages: 496

    A terrific tale of war strategy that was a hall mark of the Marathas during their period and the story is a classic thriller which ever way you look at it. A page turner with a historical approach makes it easy to be with all the characters. The author Siva Sankaran has done a wonderful research on this subject to churn out this book.

    Intrigue and backstabbing and the ruthlessness of the warfare tactics and the infiltration among the sides make it very fragile. The pace at which the story goes is pretty fast and makes it a compelling read. Everything is fair in love and war was the phrase but you get to see it in real in this book. The details of gruesome warfare tactics, the manipulation at every turn and the twists and turns make this an unputdownable book.

    Just as you keep wondering what is the Peshwa Baji Rao Bhat thinking or if he is being outsmarted, you are led to a black hole in the real sense. The author has a knack of pointing your thoughts in a different direction and leading you through the maze.

    The intricate detailing of the mercenaries and their ways of destruction and also the way the Scorpions deal deathly blow to the Marathas are worth the research and the author has taken pains to take s through the age and also make us revel in the time frame that he narrates the story.

    The story is also very personal in a way the relationship between the characters are concerned. There is this father’s love, a daughters love, and on the other side we have doting lovers in Peshwa and his wife.

    I think the build up and the suspense has been absolutely taken care by the author and he leaves no stones turned to keep us riveted to the story through out. The narration of going back and forth also has been very well handled. The author packs a full fledged historical thriller into a book of almost 500 pages and sure has the sign of being made into a movie.

    Pick up this book and you will enjoy a bit of war time history, some real history, and if you love twists and plots…

    Pick your copies here : Amazon | Flipkart

    I am M-M-Mumbai by Rishi Vohra – a book review

    I am M-M-Mumbai by Rishi Vohra

    Paperback: 192 pages
    Publisher: Vishwakarma Publications; 1 edition (2018)
    Language:
    English
    ISBN-10: 9386455706
    ISBN-13: 978-9386455703 

    I am M-M-Mumbai is a breezy read and has a very simple to talk tone that makes its a single sitting read. Stammering and you know you might think about another hero in Bollywood. Coming together of things make it for the hero in this scheme of things.

    The stammering of the hero is all that he needs to overcome and this could be well anything in our life to overcome. A motivational positive story of an upcoming actor is well presented in a straight forward manner. May be the background of the author has some element of coincidences being revealed to the readers. The many facets of Mumbai come to the fore during the story telling.

    Sometimes its a bit predictive, but the characters hold on to their own right from the protagonist to the circle of characters around him. One thing I liked about this is the story could well be a negative of what all happens in the Bollywood but then this is a whiff of fresh air in terms of the people presented here.

    Some of the incidents are quite relatable and that we can easily identify with. I liked the way the story moved on and the characters in a very positive way, given that you can write so much of negative things around Bollywood.

    The author does a great service to the goodness of human being,  taking it for granted and every time there could have been a disaster, he get a seamless character to help the protagonist and also use a handicap to make it better for Rudra.

    The marriage of the childhood sweethearts in the story, is a bit bollywoodesque if you ask me, but then given the authors proximity to bollywood it’s was quite expected.

    I would recommend you to pick it up for some whiff of fresh air and a dose of positive vibes in your life and you will think that the world is after all not as bad as portrayed.

    Like I said earlier the book finishes up so fast may be because some places are predictable. But then that’s ok with some social messaging.

    So go here to pick up your copy Amazon | Flipkart

    Thanks to the author for sending a copy to review and hope he has many more stories to tell. (This is the first time I am reading his work.)

    Senthilkumar Rajappan